Waiver Wire Strategy: How to Play the Waiver Wire

Need help navigating the fantasy baseball waiver wire landscape? All MLB fantasy owners can benefit from Justin Berglund's Waiver Wire Strategy series.

Justin Berglund - RotoBaller

Following up my article on how not to play the waiver wire, which you can see here, today I have more tips, this time on how to properly play the fantasy baseball waiver wire.

We are now in Week 3, and there have been tons of injuries, with Adrian Beltre, Ryan Zimmerman, Matt Latos, and Jose Reyes among the top players already on the DL. This has left some managers already scrambling to find replacements until their players come back. However, the waiver wire is not always as easy as you think, and at times can be fickle and frustrating when it comes to finding the right players. With my advice, hopefully you will have the right frame of mind and a better head when it comes to managing a winning fantasy team.


Tips for Playing the Waiver Wire


Look into Prospects

By SD Dirk (Tony La Russa) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsAfter you throw your player on the DL and have the free spot available, check out if you have room for any NA players, or prospects. It can never hurt to add a youngster where he technically isn’t taking up a roster spot for you.

For example, when Matt Latos went down I added Trevor Bauer, a top pitching prospect for Cleveland. A few days later, he made a spot start for the Indians before being sent back down. After he was sent back down, I put him in my available NA spot, and then added Zach McAllister. So now I not only added McAllister to fill Latos’ spot, but got an extra spot start from Bauer, and now have him for when he makes his return to the majors sometime this year.


Think About What You Lost

When not sure who to add from the waiver list, which can be a problem especially in deep leagues, take a second to analyze the player who is hurt. Odds are when you drafted him you were gaining a particular stat (unless it’s a 5 tool player like Trout.) So let’s say you lost a player like Josh Hamilton, who will mostly contribute in the power department, you probably shouldn’t be adding Rajai Davis for his speed. Using my league for example, the manager who lost Hamilton to the DL added Corey Hart, who had already hit 3 HR’s this season.


Will Your Add Be Playing?

This is more for adding hitters than pitchers. If you lose a hitter like Beltre or Reyes and you decide to add another hitter, you have to think about who you add in regards to the players already on your bench. Using Reyes as an example, it might seem obvious once he’s dropped to add another Shortstop like Alcides Escobar, but if you already have a guy on your bench who can take over the SS spot like Xander Bogaerts, you might want to skip the lower tier player in Escobar who will likely just sit on your bench until Reyes comes back. You should use the available spot to address another need, or just grab a pitcher.


How Long Is the Injury?

Lastly, when decided who to add, it would be smart to put into effect how long you will need to rely on the waiver player. If it is only for a few days due to a bereavement list or a 15 day DL stint, you might want to add the hot bat or arm. I had no problem adding Casey McGehee when Daniel Murphy had to sit to be there for his wife during labor because I knew I didn’t need to worry about him maintaining his hot start. Same goes for the likes of Emilio Bonifacio and others that probably won’t be consistent with their stats, but can take over and be dropped when they start to cool down. It’s never ideal to be digging through Waivers when you lose a star for any period of time, but is nonetheless a major part of the game, and can often decide who wins a week and pay dividends throughout the year. When the season is over, whether you made the playoffs or not, you’ll be looking back at your moves and either be smiling or frowning based on what you did on the Waiver Wire. Hopefully this article will help make more smiles than frowns.


That’s it for now, stay tuned into RotoBaller for all your Fantasy Baseball Advice, and make sure to follow Justin on Twitter @JustBerglund and @RotoBaller to never miss an update.